Bronchitis in one of the most common conditions during autumn and winter. Acute or chronic, bronchitis may deteriorate quality of life, due to intense and persistent cough. Although drugs are the first line of treatment, there are many dietary supplements that can strengthen immune system and help in faster recovery.
What is bronchitis
Bronchitis occurs when there is an inflammation of the air passages of lungs (airways). It is characterized by a series of symptoms and is categorized into two main categorie, the acute and the chronic bronchitis. Acute bronchitis is due to viral infections or cold. Recovery takes a few days (7 to 10), but its symptoms may need up to 3 weeks to completely recede.
In contrast, chronic bronchitis is a condition commonly associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and its main feature is productive cough. The main cause of chronic bronchitis is smoking, so it is recommended to quit it immediately.
Symptoms and causes
Depending on the type of bronchitis, symptoms can be differentiated on type and severity. Bronchitis is generally characterized by:
- Cough, dry or productive
- Feeling burning in the chest
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Increased fatigue
The main causes of bronchitis are bacterial and viral infections, smoking, environmental pollution and exposure to dust and pollutants.
Common medications for the treatment of bronchitis are bronchodilators, corticosteroids, cough medicines or even antibiotics, depending on the cause of the bronchitis. There are, however, many dietary supplements that help prevent and treat bronchitis or even reduce the intensity of its symptoms, such as bronchial asthma.
N-acetyl cysteine is a form of the amino acid cysteine, which is abundant in food and can also be synthesized from the body. NAC is used to prevent and treat chronic bronchitis. According to meta-analyzes, NAC has antioxidant properties while helping to prevent and reduce the exacerbation and worsening of symptoms of bronchitis and chronic respiratory disease (COPD). Supplementation with NAC can be very helpful to those who smoke, as it contributes to the prevention of bacterial infections of lungs. A typical dose is 600-1200mg/day.
Essential oils, especially oregano, eucalyptus, thyme, anise and ivy, thanks to their synthesis in mono- and diterpenes, help to reduce symptoms of both acute and chronic bronchitis. They have antimicrobial, broncholytic and expectorant properties, help reduce asthmatic cough and speed up recovery of the upper respiratory tract from viral infections.
Echinacea is a herb that strengthens immune system and prevents the occurrence of cold, a common cause of bronchitis. It is used to treat mainly acute bronchitis and prevent infections of the upper respiratory tract. In addition to prevention, echinacea also contributes to faster recovery. It is a natural immunostimulant as it increases the activity of white blood cells, macrophages and alpha necrosis factor (TNF-alpha), thus enhancing the body’s defense to eradicate pathogenic microbes. Pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as people taking immunosuppressive medications should not take echinacea.
Andrographic (Andrographic paniculata)
Andographic is a herb rich in terpenes and flavonoids. According to studies, it strengthens immune system, has antioxidant and antimicrobial action and helps to reduce the duration of cold. It helps prevent bronchitis and can be combined with other herbs such as eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus), which also enhances immune system. It is used to treat acute bronchitis as well as to prevent infections of the upper respiratory tract. Caution is needed for people taking anticoagulant treatment.
Astragalus is one of the most powerful immunostimulant herbs. Its action is due to flavonoids, phytosterols and quercetin. In particular, it helps to strengthen body’s defense in cases of cold and to treat viral infections of the upper respiratory tract and bronchitis.
Lobelia (Lobelia inflate)
It has expectorant and spasmolytic properties. Helps in nasal decongestion and cough reduction.
It is widely used to treat symptoms of flu and cold. Thanks to the menthol, mint has decongestant properties and helps to eliminate mucus from the lungs. It is combined with eucalyptus and oregano oil, which have antimicrobial and mucolytic properties.
Other substances and herbs that help boost immune system and prevent colds are Ginseng, garlic (Allium sativum), ivy and probiotics.
Changes in lifestyle
Lifestyle changes can also help in faster recovery from bronchitis.
- Quit smoking
- In cases of exposure to dirty and dusty areas, wear facial masks
- Use a space humidifier to relieve dry cough and congestion.
- Drink plenty of fluids
In Vita4you you can find a wide variety of dietary supplements that boost immune system and help treat bronchitis.